A € 1,000 for a watch is a lot of money. Although some of us are used to buy watches 5x that amount or even a multiple of that, € 1,000 is still more than the average amount spent on a watch, world wide. Actually, any watch above € 50 could be thought of as ‘luxury’. However, in the ‘luxury business’ – and believe me, I hate that word – spending a € 1,000 on a wrist watch is considered ‘entry level’ or ‘affordable luxury’. I don’t like the word luxury as it is just a stupid definition for everything expensive and unnecessary. I love watches and rather see people use ‘good watch’ instead of ‘affordable luxury’ when it comes to sub € 1,000 timepieces.
For a € 1,000, you can buy a seriously nice watch that will probably last a life time. In this article I will give you my Top 10 of (mechanical) watches under € 1,000. All watches presented here are new, as a list of my Top 10 of pre-owned or even vintage watches would look slightly different. Something for another time.
The Longines HydroConquest is the typical divers watch. A 41mm stainless steel timepiece with a uni-directional bezel, large Arabic numerals on the dial, large hour markers and screw-down crown. Yes, it looks a bit like the Rolex Submariner if you want, but still different enough to stay away from the ‘hommage’ pieces that are flooding the market.
Water resistant up to 300 meters, ETA based movement and a solid stainless steel bracelet. This could be your perfect daily watch for the next coming decades.
Another Longines, but face it: Longines is one of the biggest brands in the ‘good watches’ segment for a decent amount of Euros. This Conquest GMT is – as the name implies – a watch below € 1,000 with a GMT function.
One of the most useful complications on a mechanical watch if you ask me, especially when you are traveling or if you have family (or business) in different time zones. I bet this watch would also look awesome on a NATO strap.
ORIS has an impressive manufactory in Hölstein, Switzerland. It probably doubles the amount of citizens of that village during working hours. This ORIS Aquis is another diver’s watch on this list. It comes on a nice rubber strap or a steel bracelet and measures 43mm across the well-made watch case.
It has a Sellita mechanical movement and can handle a pressure of 30ATM (300 meters). This classic diver’s watch is available in several dial and colour variations as well as models in Titanium.
Certina is part of the Swatch Group and should be positioned just below Longines. This DS Action is an interesting diver that will give you quite a bit of spare change with a € 1,000 budget. It is water resistant up to 200 meters and has an ETA 2824-2 movement inside.
A solid looking watch with a red second hand that gives a nice contrast on the black dial. Large hour markers and a uni-directional bezel make it a true divers watch.
Glycine is famous for its legendary Airman model, used by chopper pilots in the Vietnam war. The Combat watch is based on military watches as well, but the “Golden Eye” edition gives it a nice fancy look & feel with its black PVD coating and 5N PVD coating on the bezel and crown to give it a red gold look.
Like most other pieces in this segment it’s powered by an ETA 2824-2 movement which means pure reliability. You will easily steal the show with this modern sports watch.
Tissot is another Swatch Group brand that is available in the sub € 1,000 price segment. A rich history – also with a close relationship with OMEGA – gives Tissot a bit of an edge to other watch brands I guess. They managed to do very well with their Powermatic 80 watch and the T-Touch models of course. However, I selected the Tissot Seastar 1000 for this list.
A great sporty watch available with a stainless steel bracelet or rubber strap. Powered by the aforementioned ETA 2824-2. Another solid performer that will give you back some change.
You can’t make a Top 10 list of watches below € 1,000 without mentioning Hamilton. This time it is not a diver but a nice classic piece with these cool old-school looking wire-lugs, silver dial and blued hands. The Hamilton Khaki Navy Pioneer is a true classic looking timepiece!
Put it on a nice brown leather calf strap or even a black alligator strap and you will have an amazing piece that goes very nicely with a suit. Great design, high quality swiss-made movement and a perfect size of 40mm, what more does a fine watch need?
The Frankfurter watch company that develops and creates functional non-BS watches. I love Sinn. This 38.5mm timepiece with ETA 2824-2 is what a timepiece should be about in my humble opinion. Awesome finish on the case, a very readable dial, large bright hour markers and luminous hands, a display back and a good calf strap. Period.
This understated tool-watch is also available with a steel bracelet but a simple black leather strap creates the perfect classic look for every occasion.
The only watch from Japan in this list. The Seiko Prospex line stands for ‘Professional Specifications’ and is a true divers watch. The SBDC001 is also nicked ‘Sumo’ and has a large share of followers on the internet. An interesting watch for an interesting price.
Nice finish, superb solid movement and very wearable on a rubber strap. The bracelet is not worth mentioning, but the watch itself is more than great.
The Fortis Flieger Automatik has been around for so long, it should be considered a classic already. It also has remained ‘affordable’ over the years. A 40mm no-nonsense watch with the realiable ETA 2824-2 movement inside. Another example of a watch that will remain a life time and isn’t subject to the ever changing fashion ‘standards’.